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Google's Timelapse project shows how the Earth has changed over a quarter of a century

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Google Earth Engine
Google Earth Engine

Google has expanded its mapping platform to launch a new project called Timelapse, taking you back through time to see how our planet has changed over the last 25 years. To create its new interactive HTML5 animations, Google teamed up with the US Geological Survey (USGS), NASA, and TIME to combine over 2 million images taken by Landsat satellites — which are part of the longest-running Earth-observing satellite program ever.

Google says it trawled through 909 terabytes of data to find the clearest images of Earth taken every year between 1984 and 2012. Compiling the shots into 1.78 terapixel images — one for each year — it worked with the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University to make them into easily viewable HTML5 animations. The project offers a number of pre-selected locations, including the creation of Dubai's artificial Palm Islands, the melting of Alaska's Columbia Glacier, and the the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.